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OFFICERS COMPANION FOR APRIL 1813.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR JOHN MOORE.
“ Traveller, who seest us here, go and tell at Sparta that we died upon this spot,
in obedience to the sacred laws of our native land!"
The above epitaph, composed by Simonides for the intrepid sons of Lacedæmon, who fell at Thermopyle, we consider as truly applicable to the gallant Sir John Moore, who, devoted to his country and her honour, fell on the plains of Coruna in the bour of glory and victory.
THIS officer was born at Glasgow in the year 1760; he entered'
1 the army at a very early period of life, and from the connection which his father, Dr. Moore, had formed with the families of Hamilton and Argyle, he rapidly rose in the service. In 1790 he was promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the 51st Regiment of Foot, and shortly after was actively employed in the Mediterranean.
The force under Lord Hood having been obliged to evacuate Toulon in the latter part of the year 1793, notwithstanding the most spirited exertions on the part of that gallant commander; and a place of arms in that quarter being absolutely necessary for our troops and navy; also for the reception of those numerous bodies of emigrants, who at that period solicited the protection of GreatBritain, the kingdom of Corsica was regarded as suitable to those objects; General Pascal Paoli had determined to contend once more for the sovereignty of his native isle, and this officer entered into a secret correspondence with Great-Britain, to which he made an offer of the sovereignty of Corsica.
Lieut.-Colonel Moore and Major Koehler were selected as most proper officers to enquire into the probability of success that would VOL. II,
attend operations in that quarter. These officers landed secretly, had an interview with Paoli, and made a flattering report of his power and authority. This intelligence de' rimined Lord Hood to anticipate the French, who had embarked a body of troops at Nice, for the subjugation of the island, and acco dingly sailed from the Hieres in the beginning of 1795. Having anchored in a bay to the westward of Mortella tower, a body of troops, consisting of the 2d batt. of the Royals, the 11th, 25th, 30th, 50th, 51st, and 69th regiments, amounting in all to about fourteen hundred men, was landed under Lieut.-General Dundas, and it was determined that this important post should be immediately seized, without which the anchorage could not be deemed secure. A regular siege was, however, rendered necessary; and the garrison surrendered in two days. Lieut.Colonel Moore was not present; he had been detached with two regiments, a small howitzer, and a six-pounder, for the purpose of seizing on Fornelli by a sudden and unexpected movement: having dragged these for the space of several miles, through a mountainous country, on reconnoitring the place, which, on the preceding year, had resisted the attack of our flying squadrons, it was found that it could not be taken by a coup de main. The present expedition, bowever, proved the means of its capture, for Sir John Moore reported, that, provided heavy artillery was brought up, an attack on the enemy’s posts seemed likely to be attended with success. Accordingly, after four days incessant fatigue, a sufficient quantity of ordnance was advanced to an eminence, elevated no less than seven hundred feet above the level of the sea. From this commanding height a single eighteen-pounder so annoyed two French frigates. in the adjacent bay of St. Fiorengo, that they were forced to retire, while one battery, consisting of three pieces of artillery, enfiladed the redoubt of the convention, and a second took it in reverse. A body of Corsicans, amounting to twelve hundred men, now advanced to the support of the British troops; and the French commander having refused to capitulate, an immediate assault was resoked upon. The assault commenced on the evening of the 17th of February : a column under Lieutenant-Colonel Moore advanced against the nearest part of this redoubt, while Lieutenant-Colonel Wauchope and Captain Stewart extended in the centre and on the left, and having thus divided the attention of the enemy, drove them down a steep hill in the rear. The English now became masters of the town as well as the gulph of St. Fiorengo. The possession of Calvi was the next object of the British General, and on the 9th of June, 1795, the troops having received considerable reinforcements under Lieutenant-General Stewart, they encamped at Serra del Cappucine, distant three miles from the object of their attack. But before the body of the place could be attacked it became necessary to carry two detached forts, Mollinochesco and Mozello. The movements of the army compelled the French to evacuate the former, and a breach appearing by this time practicable in the latter, Lieut.-Colonel Moore was directed to take it by assault. Day-break was judged the most proper for making the attempt, while, to arrive there at the appointed moment, it became necessary to post the troops among bushes, and as near the breach as possible, so as not to alarm the enemy, who refused to yield until drawn out by force, and were prepared with grenades, as well as musquetry and cannon, to defend the position. In the mean time false attacks were made in other quarters; and General Stewart, who was extremely anxious for the event, having arrived before day-light, after a short consultation gave the signal for attack. On this Lieut.Colonel Moore and Major Brereton rapidly advanced with unloaded arms, so as, if possible, to surprise the enemy. While in the midst of this career they were observed from the ramparts, and a volley of grape shot was fired, which did little execution. The storming party pow scrambled up amidst the rubbish, regardless of the fire of small arms and the bursting of shells. While Lieutenant-Colonel Wemyss, with the Royal Irish Regt. of Artillery, and two pieces of cannon, carried the battery on the left, the assailants pursued their progress towards the breach. A variety of impediments occurred, both from the nature of the ground, and the desperate resistance, made by the enemy. Lieut.-Colonel Moore received a contusion in the head by the bursting of a shell, yet, notwithstanding the effusion of blood, he entered the place along with the grenadiers. On General Stewart quitting Corsica he recommended Lieut.-Colonel Moore, now invested with the rank of Adjutant-General, as a proper person to succeed him..
On the return of Lieut.-Col. Moore to England he was appointed to serve in an important expedition projected against the French West India colonies, under the command of Lieut.-Gen. Sir Ralph Abercrombie.
The expedition left the British shores in the autumn of 1795, and the fleet and transports arrived early in the succeeding year at Carlisle Bay in the island of Barbadoes. After the capture of the Dutch colonies of Demerary, Issequibo, and Berbice, part of the
troops selected for the reduction of St. Lucia, among which the subject of this memoir served with the rank of Brigadier-General, proceeded to Longueville's-Bay, and effected a landing without any considerable opposition. Having advanced next morning to ChoeBay, the centre division of the army disembarked near the village of the same name, on which an advanced body of the enemy retired to Morne Chabot, one of the strongest posts in the island. Before any further progress could be made, it was deemed necessary to occupy this high and commanding eminence. Accordingly two officers were selected to lead the troops, and were employed in two separate attacks. General Moore, with seven companies of the 53d Regt. one hundred of Malcome's, and fifty Lewinstein's Rangers, was ordered to advance by a circuitous path, while General Hope, with three hundred and fifty of the 57th, was to march by a nearer and more direct route. But, in consequence of some error on the part of the guides, arising from the circumstance of its being a night attack, the former fell in with an advanced picquet, considerably more than had been expected, so that his intentions were discovered and the meditated assault anticipated. Notwithstanding this Gen. Moore immediately resolved to commence operations without waiting for the approach of the other column, and, by a prompt and decisive movement, succeeded in carrying this post. The next day he advanced and seized on Morne Duchassaux, in the rear of Morne Fortune in the possession of which the principal strength of the enemy consisted. The French batteries, however, were not carried for some days after, but two parallels, provided with heavy artillery, having been completed, and the enemy repulsed by Gen. Moore during a desperate sally for the protection of the village, a lodgment was effected within a few hundred yards of the fort: and on the 25th of May 1796, this island surrendered to the British arms. The next services of General Moore were in the expedition to Holland under the command of the present illustrious Commanderin-Chief. In that army our departed soldier commanded a brigade. and highly distinguished himself on all occasions. From Holland he went with Sir Ralph Abercrombie to * Egypt. The army arrived in Aboukir Bay on the 7th March; and the first division having embarked in the boats, a rocket was fired at three o'clock in the morning as a signal to proceed to the place of rendezvous, and at nine they advanced towards the beach, steering directly towards that part of the shore where the enemy appeared most for
* Wide Narrative of the expedition to Egypt, page 20
midable. The position occupied by the enemy consisted of a steep sand hill, receding towards the centre, in form of an amphitheatre, which, together with the castle of Aboukir, poured down a destructive and continual discharge of shot, shell, and grape, so as to furrow up the waves on all sides of the approaching flotilla. Notwithstanding this Major-General Moore having leaped on shore with the reserve, the 23d regt. and the four flank companies of the 40th, belonging to his brigade, rushed up the eminence and charged with fixed bayonets. The effect produced by this movement was such as might have been expected, for another body of troops was also enabled to get on shore. The arıny continued to advance, pushing the enemy with the utmost vigour, and ultimately forcing them to put themselves under the protection of the fortified heights, which form the principal defence of Alexandria. It was intended to have attacked them in their last position, for which purpose the reserve under Major-General Moore, which had remained in column during the whole day, was brought forward, and, the second time, under the command of Major-General Hutchinson, marched to the left, across a part of the lake Marcotis, with a view to take the enemy on both flanks : but on reconnoitring their positions prudence required that the troops which had behaved so bravely should not be exposed to a certain loss *
In the action of the 13th of March, the reserve under MajorGeneral Moore was kept in column for a considerable time, with a view to assail one of the flanks of the enemy; but after some hesitation it was deemed advisable to encamp with the right to the sea, and the left to the canal of Alexandria. After this action, “ when the enemy had been repulsed and driven back to the heights near Alexandria, it seems the British columns followed the French, and advanced close to their heights.—The enemy believing that they should be instantly attacked, had withdrawn their artillery, and were preparing to retreat, when to their surprise the English army was halted.—The moment this was observed, an officer belonging to the French Etat-Major made a signal with his hat, and the artillery which had been withdrawn, was instantly brought again on the heights, and a severe fire directed on the British army. His cannonade could not be returned, as General Abercrombie had not been able to bring up his artillery.--This unfortunate halt, and the consequent deliberation which took place among the General Offi
• Vide Sir Ralph Abercrombie's dispatch, dated Camp before Alexandria, March 10, 1801.